While America holds its breath waiting to learn of the fate of six coal miners trapped underground in Utah, China faces the possible loss of 181 miners in a single mine disaster. Unfortunately, this is not news in China. On average, over 6,000 miners a year die there.
This is caused by both the need for cheap energy to fuel China's economic boom and the minimal safety standards protecting workers. These are the hidden costs of the cheap consumer goods that flood American stores.
I would like to think that the American people would never stand for US mines to have such a safety record. Yet, it is our insatiable desire for material possessions that causes it to happen elsewhere. When our most important value is price, then other values, such as environmental protection, workplace safety, and worker rights, will take a backseat.
What are you willing to pay for?
Stevie Joe Parker